Silence is a vital part of mind fitness. Silence is the portal to positive change and deep inner knowing. When the active mind is calmed of incessant thoughts, a sense of spaciousness naturally arises. This opening provides an opportunity to perceive life differently and dissolve mental chatter. Since the majority of chatter is both repetitive and negative, it serves no one well to allow it to continue. Studies reveal that these negative thought patterns were derived early in life and are the result of an over stimulated nervous system. Calming the mind requires also calming of the body. Synchronize mind and body through silence and non-judging observation, gently releasing any thoughts or sensations that arise. Regular solitude yields immense rewards and a more peace filled future.
Flexibility is another important part of mind fitness. Whenever you feel stuck, confused, or overwhelmed, step back from the situation to ground and center yourself, then observe any rigid thinking you may hold. Ask yourself “Where is my mind closed and rigid?” Also take time to ponder what you do not know about the situation in order to expand your perspective. This is often difficult to do, especially if you are immersed in the problem. A helpful strategy here is to make plenty of time for meditation and opening yourself up to intuitive insights.
For instance, if you are currently struggling with a family member who is critical and judging, you could begin by keeping conversations brief and succinct to maintain mutual respect. When apart, create large amounts of solitude to access body signals and intuitive insights on the situation. With adequate reflection time, you may receive a flash of insight, revealing a bigger picture. Perhaps the situation is much more complex than you realized and now you know for certain that loving kindness and compassion are necessary for both parties. Stopping the pattern of participating in conflict is key. Discovering and enacting alternate ways of communicating are also essential. All that is required is for one person to shift their thoughts and behaviours for influencing change. Mindfully make wise choices, moment by moment and walk forward with lightness and grace. Flexibility is key for on-going mind fitness.
Mind fitness involves expansion. Having an open mind is crucial in order to grow from limitations. Whatever struggles you are currently experiencing are not just the result of external conditions but also your reactions. If you view yourself as stuck with no options for freeing yourself, that will be your reality. Therefore, having ‘a mind like the sky’ is essential.
How does one open their mind? There are many ways to achieve this. One way is by releasing pent-up emotions through physical exercise or movement, including free form dancing, jumping on soft ground, or bouncing on a trampoline. These are very powerful methods as they literally move emotions out of the body. Meditation is another way for opening the mind. Focus on the sensation of your breath, the flame of a candle, a mountain or a gorgeous flower. As you do this, allow any mental chatter that arises to drift away as easily as they drifted in. Gradually you will notice increasing spaciousness within. Finally, focus on what you are grateful for and recite positive affirmations that resonate for you. Repeatedly say aloud “One thing I am grateful for in this moment is ….” All of these are powerful tools for transforming your experiences in life as they literally change neural pathways in your brain! Sample a variety of ways and commit to the ones that work best for you. The time for positive change is now!
Mind Fitness is a journey. Similar to physical fitness, it is an on-going process that requires a deep level of commitment and daily rituals for maintaining balance within. The world offers many opportunities for practicing balance. What we do in the face of challenges makes all the difference. If we are stuck in stress and struggling, we are often reacting to the situation based on unresolved hurts from the past. In contrast, if we regularly exude vitality, we have likely established effective rituals for grounding and centering ourselves regardless what is happening in the external world. Wise responses are the key. Be fully present in the moment as you step into positive transformation!
Believe that you are invaluable and irreplaceable. There is no other person in this world the same as you. You are a unique and special being: One of a kind!
Even with this uniqueness, we all share commonalities with other humans. We all have the same basic needs involving shelter, security, and physical nourishment. This is one of the great paradoxes of being human. We are both similar and different. Hold reverence for each. Hold reverence for yourself and all humanity. We do not suffer alone nor heal alone. Grow love within and it will naturally emanate without! As Gandhi brilliantly stated, “Be the change you wish to see in the world!”
Your story is your life. Therefore, what you tell yourself becomes your reality. If you tell yourself that you are victim, this will be present in your everyday life. However, if you tell yourself that you are powerful and capable of influencing positive change, this too will be mirrored back to you in your life journey. The energy you bring to the external world is reflected back to you in subtle ways. Be aware of what you want to experience in your life and make it your reality. Reshape your story as needed. Be the change!
Forgiveness nurtures a generous and loving spirit. The third way that forgiveness can be expressed is by forgiving others who have hurt you. Remember that being human means making mistakes. We are prone to errors. We must be willing to let go of resentments and disappointments in life in order to fully free ourselves from past pains. Holding victim mentality and a sense of betrayal serves no one. It is far more beneficial to release these negative habits and allow an open heart to come forth. The rewards are immense as your inherent gifts awaits discovery!
Last weeks’ post introduced the first of three ways forgiveness can happen. Forgiving oneself is key to living fully and freely, aligned with one’s true potential in life. The second way involves requesting forgiveness from those that we have consciously or unconsciously hurt. It is essential to acknowledge that mistakes are a natural and normal part of the human experience. We learn through our mistakes and grow through them when we acknowledge the harm that was done, commit to doing the necessary reparation work and also commit to not repeating the mistake again.
Reparation may involve meeting the other person, separation, writing a letter, individual or group therapy, bodywork, and even meaningful volunteer activities that uplift one’s sense of self-worth. Shifting to generosity and goodwill in the community is tremendously powerful and healing, allowing revitalization of one’s essential spirit!
Forgiveness is a learned skill that involves commitment and regular practice. It is a life skill essential for overall wellness and thriving of our human species. Holding resentment, anger and grudges limits not only our ability to live life fully but also live life freely. Releasing negative energy is key to discovering our true nature.
Forgiveness can happen in three ways. The first way involves forgiving yourself for allowing suffering in your life, for neglecting self-care and for participating in perceived limitations. Ultimately you always have a choice in life, to either live freely with love or limited in anger and fear. Choosing self-love is actually a selfless act since everyone you come into contact with benefits greatly from your loving energy! This is the true essence of who you are!
Humans are relational beings by nature and thrive through meaningful connections and acts of kindness and altruism. Conversely, troubled relationships bring pain and harm to all. At a subconscious level, all humans are impacted by wars and disasters in the world. Just as we do not hurt alone, we also do not heal alone. Connecting with others in a meaningful way helps to rebuild and heal interpersonal relationships in life. Connection is key!
Which connections require healing and reparation in your life? What can you do today to begin the process? Perhaps it is simply acknowledging the hurt that has happened and allowing emotions to surface. Repressed emotions inhibit wellness in significant ways. Free yourself from yesterdays hurts so that you can live fully today. Forgiveness starts when you are ready to walk the path of peace. Next weeks post will address key ideas and practices that aid the forgiveness journey!